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Man acquitted of racial abuse charge against Muslim taxi driver

Man acquitted of racial abuse charge against Muslim taxi driver

Categories: Latest News

Monday May 09 2016

The local newspaper, York Press, reports on the acquittal of a man accused of racially aggravated threatening behaviour after a Muslim taxi driver claimed he was called a “Muslim suicide bomber” by a passenger riding in his taxi last November.

Paul Leadley and his friend, Craig King, had flagged down a taxi in York city centre after spending the afternoon drinking “around six pints of beer”.

The two men got into Joynul Al-Ameen’s taxi at around 8.45pm on the evening of 28 November. Mr Al Ameen said Mr Leadley had called him a “Muslim suicide bomber” and persisted in subjecting him to “the most foul racist abuse”.

Prosecutor Philip Morris told York Magistrates Court that the abuse got so bad, Mr Al Ameen stopped the taxi at one point.

After being dropped off at the Huntington Working Men’s Club, Mr Morris told the court, “Mr Leadley went back to the taxi, opened the driver’s door and subjected the complainant to verbal and racist abuse with a clenched fist.”

Mr Al Ameen claimed that Mr Leadley had told him, “you don’t belong here, you should go back to Bangladesh.”

The two men made off without payment.

Mr Leadley denied a charge of racially aggravated threatening behaviour but entered a guilty plea on one charge of using threatening behaviour admitting that an argument had ensued and that he had used “language that fell way below the acceptable standard”, but denied that it was racially aggravated. Leadley’s plea was rejected by the prosecution and the case proceeded to trial with a charge including an aggravated element.

Mr King pleaded guilty to one charge of threatening behaviour.

Julian Tanikal, defending Mr Leadley, told the victim Joynul Al Ameen that his account of events on that afternoon differed considerably from the statement he had made to the police the day after the incident. Tanikal told the Mr Al Ameen, “Your evidence is at odds with itself.”

The chairman of the bench Clive Harwood, acquitting Mr Leadley, said: “We are fairly sure the incident happened more in the way that Mr Al-Ameen described it.”

But due to “an element of doubt” arising as to Mr Al Ameen’s version of events, Harwood said “For this reason our duty is to acquit you of this offence.”

Leadley was handed a community order including an eight-week curfew from 9pm to 6am. He was also ordered to pay £105.50 compensation, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

King had already received the same penalty after admitting the threatening behaviour and making off without payment charges at an earlier hearing, where he was ordered to pay £105.50 compensation and £85 costs.


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